The dramatic growth potential for new vehicle sales in such emerging markets as Brazil, Russia, India, and China is also drawing the expansion of connected vehicle services (also known as telematics services) beyond North America and Europe.
Growing universal appeal for satellite-enabled stolen vehicle locating capabilities and other location-based services as well consumers’ desire for continual Internet connectivity are two of the primary catalysts behind the emerging expansion of connected vehicle services, according to Tomas Metzger, senior vice president and general manager for ATX, a leading provider of connected vehicle services to global automobile manufacturers.
Speaking to attendees at an annual, European telematics conference, Metzger noted other market drivers in Brazil, Russia, India and China, referred to as the “BRIC countries”, include supportive governments, who see public policy benefits in connected vehicle deployment, and the desire of automobile manufacturers to obtain greater efficiencies in connected vehicle technology. Metzger commented that the BRIC countries are a natural draw for such a market expansion with their rapidly expanding market for new vehicle sales, their maturing highway and telecommunications infrastructures, and large segments of their population with rising disposable incomes and rapidly increasing internet use and purchases of portable navigation and wireless communications devices.
Metzger believes that the expansion in the European market for connected vehicles – activated by deployment of the European Commission’s eCall initiative – will provide the business template for the development of platforms in the emerging BRIC markets.
“Unlike the uniform, predominantly voice-centric operations that have proven successful in North America, the infrastructure that is emerging to serve Europe is more data-centric and modular, enabling adaption to a patchwork of local partnerships, language, emergency response protocols, and regulatory compliance that’s more adaptable for a global rollout,” said Metzger.
With globalization, the requirements for service providers grow more complex, necessitating not only ongoing development of back-office infrastructure and data security but experience in wireless service management, interactive and automated voice technologies, development of handset applications, customer relationship management, and in-vehicle electronics. A connected vehicle program today has to maintain the flexibility to serve a global platform while simultaneously adapting to local or specific market needs and maintaining a consistently high level of customer service.
ATX, a long-time provider of connected vehicle services in several European countries, earlier in the year proposed a new flexible approach for accelerating expansion of in-vehicle, location-enabled, eCall to emergency responders across Europe. The proposed self-dispatching eCall solution overcomes many of the technical and cultural hurdles that have deterred deployment across national borders within the EU, similar to what might be experienced on a global scale, according to Arnaud de Meulemeester, managing director of ATX’s European operations.
ATX (http://www.atxg.com), with offices in Paris and Dusseldorf in Europe and Dallas-Fort Worth in North America, is a division of Cross Country Automotive Services (www.crosscountry-auto.com), based in Medford, MA. ATX and Cross Country serve 76 million consumers associated with 36 automotive brands and over 30 auto insurance carriers in North America. The combined companies specialize in leveraging emerging technologies for customer relationship management programs for the automotive and insurance industries.